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Blog: Back On The Road Again

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This week I have been Back On The Road, travelling the country by train just like in heady days of a couple of years ago, although the "gigs" are bit different to how I remember.

It all kicked off last weekend when The Beach At My Shore and I went down to Cornwall to see some of The Parents. We had a LOVELY time, featuring lots of beer, grub, paddling and music - including a GRATE band called The Stowes who did some Cornish songs at a beer festival in the village and were ACE! The original plan had been for us all to go to the Open Mic night on Monday, which my Dad plays at every month, and we'd booked our train tickets accordingly, but a few weeks before we set off they changed the date. Apparently it was the organiser's daughter's wedding the day before - which I GUESS is a fair enough excuse.

Undeterred, my Dad set up his OWN Open Mic night in The Extension at his house. We thought this meant a family singalong/piss-up but he set it all up properly with lights, music stands and we did a full set each... which did include the aforesaid singalong, also piss-up. It was ACE!

Exclusive Pic by The Flash Bang In My Wallop

We travelled back on Tuesday, and then on Wednesday morning I was up at an UNGODLY hour to catch a train to LEEDS, where I was attending a meeting for WORK. When I arrived at Kings Cross they were doing a promotion for the new 'Jurassic Park' film, with a life-size T-Rex in the station and the theme music playing on a loop over the PA system. This meant that, when they announced our platform, the stampede of people heading for the train took on an ethereal, majestic beauty that I doubt it has ever had before.

The meeting was all fine and the day passed off without incident, until on the way home when a bunch of YOUTHS got on my carriage at Peterborough, shouting to each other about how they were going to get ARRESTED because they didn't have tickets. They didn't exactly strike me as MASTER CRIMINALS but by heck they were annoying, YELLING at each other and moving around all the time. I sat there for ten minutes not wanting to get up change compartment in case it hurt their feelings, eventually realising that it was unlikely they would notice or indeed CARE and so shifted to another, much quieter, carriage. I know from YEARS of experience that it is ALWAYS better to move when people get on and start being NOISY, and yet I always hesitate in case it hurts the delicate feelings of whatever gang of wallies has just got on and started BELLOWING.

This next day I was out AGANE even EARLIER, this time to distant Bristol where I was presenting a short talk about the different issues raised by preserving Arts data. As with all things in my exciting new job it was all Quite Interesting, and allowed me to do things that would have been UNIMAGINABLE in previous roles e.g. using LEGO, The Domesday Project and a Javascript version of 'The Lords Of Midnight' as slides at a Proper Serious Conference and nobody batting an eyelid. I even chatted happily to people afterwards and gave the distinct impression that I knew what I was on about!

Best of all the conference finished EARLY, so I was able to dash and catch an earlier train... which was then delayed for ages because of RAIN. Some things about touring by train never change!

Today is a rest day, but tomorrow I'm off again, this time to Cambridge to sit on a panel and talk about Space Invaders because, apparently, that is what I do these days. What a life!

posted 1/6/2018 by MJ Hibbett

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